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Daily News Roundup: Monday, 3rd June 2019

Posted: 3rd June 2019


Mortgage approvals rebound but consumer borrowing hits five-year low

Mortgage approvals for house purchases hit a three-month high in April, with the number of residential mortgages approved reaching 66,300, according to new data released by the Bank of England. Net mortgage borrowing by households was strong for the second month in a row, hitting £4.3bn compared with an average £3.8bn over the previous six months. However, the annual growth rate in unsecured consumer lending fell to 5.9% from 6.4% in March – its slowest rate since 2014 - as households limited spending on credit cards and cut back on finance deals. Separately, research by comparison site Moneyfacts found there are now 7,289 mortgage deals on the market with perks attached, up around a fifth from two years ago.

HSBC brings in protection for financial abuse victims

HSBC has begun implementing measures to identify and help victims of financial abuse, making it the first big bank to do so. The measures will allow victims to close joint bank accounts without their abuser’s permission. They will also be able to open new accounts without a sort code that is traceable to a particular bank branch, so their location cannot be identified on their bank card or account details. HSBC is also training 16,500 staff to spot subtle signs of abuse, such as a customer being encouraged to withdraw large sums of money by a potential perpetrator, having their finances withheld or being forced to take out personal loans or credit cards.

Metro Bank halts loans to property developers

Metro Bank has stopped lending money on commercial property in order to focus on small businesses and residential mortgages. Commercial property was at the heart of the bank’s accounting debacle in January, when it failed to measure the risk of some of its loans correctly.

Britain’s ‘bad bank’ reaches turning point

The Times interviews Ian Hares, chief executive of UK Asset Resolution – the so-called “bad bank” set up to house the high-risk mortgages and loans to landlords that dragged down both Bradford & Bingley and Northern Rock. UK Asset Resolution’s annual report is expected to show that it has repaid all of the £48.7bn loan that the government stumped up to back the venture.

Monzo founder sets out vision

The Mail on Sunday interviews Monzo founder Tom Blomfield. He says he wants the challenger bank to be able to cater for all its customers' personal money needs – such as finding them a cheaper energy deal, better savings rate, notifying when they need to remortgage, and even filing their tax return automatically.

HSBC invests in cycling

HSBC is getting rid of 90% of the 700 staff car parking spaces in its two new regional centres and installing bike racks and changing rooms instead. The move is part of an eight-year programme worth between £80m and £100m.

Vulture deal warning for Tesco Bank

MPs are calling on Tesco Bank to rule out selling its mortgage book to a vulture fund that might lock customers into expensive deals. The supermarket last month said it was looking to offload its 23,000 home loan customers, blaming intense competition.

London job cuts for MUFG

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is reportedly planning to cut about 500 jobs in London, as Japanese banks continue to struggle overseas.


Private equity firms circle Bayer’s animal medicine unit

Private equity firms are battling it out for Bayer’s animal medicines business, in what is likely to be one of Europe’s largest buyouts since the financial crisis.

Private equity fails taste test for top restaurateur

Restaurateur Jeremy King says the short-term outlook of private equity groups has undermined restaurants and retail on the high street.


Goldman Sachs aims to woo more midsized companies

Goldman Sachs president John Waldron has said he wants to secure investment banking business from 1,700 extra midsized clients in the next three years.

China UnionPay joins Europe card fray

China UnionPay is to offer debit and credit cards in Europe for the first time, as the Chinese state-controlled group continues its global expansion to challenge Mastercard and Visa.

Facebook in talks with US regulator over digital currency

Facebook has begun talks with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over its plans for a digital currency.


EasyJet set to lose blue-chip rank

EasyJet is expected to nosedive out of the FTSE 100 this week after seeing its share price nearly halve in a year. Last month the airline reported half-year losses of £272m.


Housebuilders urged to revive deal

Fund managers at JO Hambro - the third-biggest shareholder in Galliford Try and the eighth-largest in Bovis - have called on the FTSE 250 housebuilders to revive a deal after merger talks collapsed last month.


Allianz becomes second-biggest UK general insurer

Allianz has struck two deals, worth more than £800m in total, that will see it providing insurance cover to 12m UK customers. Allianz has agreed to buy Legal & General's general insurance business, which has 2m customers, for £242m. And it will also acquire the remaining 51% stake it does not already own in LV General Insurance for up to £578m. Allianz plans to combine both businesses in a move that will make it the second-largest provider of home, contents and motor insurance in the UK after Aviva with 9% of the market

UK opens door to compensating LCF customers

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has said there are “sufficient grounds” to explore compensating victims of collapsed investment firm London Capital and Finance. Around 11,500 customers lost £237m after the savings company went bust in January.

Fund groups add Mifid top-ups as Brexit fears persist

Global asset managers including Legal & General Investment Management, Aviva Investors, BNY Mellon and JPMorgan Asset Management have been granted Mifid top-ups as they prepare for a possible hard Brexit.

Stringent rules hit UK’s online trading platforms

Valuations of online trading platforms IG Group, CMC Markets and Plus500 have fallen after rules designed to reduce the risk of retail customers suffering big trading losses were introduced.

Aviva looks to slash costs

Aviva will split its UK chief executive role in two and is preparing to rein in spending on digital developments, as part of a plan to boost returns and slash costs.


Hedge funds target hospitals operator

FTSE 100 hospital operator NMC has come under attack from short-sellers including AQR Capital Management and Merian Global Investors amid worries over its rising debt pile and slowing growth.


Rank makes £115m play for Stride

Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino owner Rank Group has made a £115m play for online gaming operator Stride Gaming. Rank offered 151p a share for Stride - a 28% premium to its closing price on Thursday.

William Hill in aborted talks with Caesars

The Sunday Times reports that William Hill held unsuccessful talks with America’s biggest casino owner Caesars Entertainment about a £6bn merger last autumn.


Brexit uncertainty paralyses manufacturing

Uncertainty surrounding the date of Britain’s departure from the EU has led to a collapse in investment and export orders, according to Make UK. The trade body added that the boost to figures from companies stockpiling is now unwinding, with investment down sharply, along with hiring, while export orders have fallen dramatically. Make UK is now forecasting manufacturing growth of just 0.2% in 2018 and of 0.8% in 2020.


House prices slip in May in subdued market

House prices in May fell 0.2% from April, according to Nationwide Building Society. Compared with a year earlier, house prices rose 0.6% - slower than the 0.9% rise the previous month. The average price for a house bought over the period was £214,946, up from £214,920 the previous month. Meanwhile the number of first time buyers has continued to recover, with 359,000 first-time buyers in the 12 months to March, just 10% below the 2006 peak, according to the Nationwide data.


Britain increasingly cashless

An investigation by the Telegraph has highlighted the extent to which Britain is becoming an increasingly cashless society, with local authorities, football stadiums, national bus service providers and shops all phasing out coins and notes. At least 17 councils no longer accept physical money, and a further 11 are planning to go cashless or limit cash use in the near future. Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan has joined campaigners in pressuring Chancellor Philip Hammond to ensure consumers can continue to pay for goods and services with cash, alongside cards and contactless forms of payment, amid concerns that the elderly and vulnerable groups are at risk of being excluded from society.

Business growth grinds to a halt

The CBI’s latest growth indicator shows growth in business activity has virtually ground to a halt over the past three months. Based on a survey of nearly 500 companies, the business lobby group reports an overall output balance of a negative 1%.


Broadbent reappointed as BoE deputy

The government has reappointed Ben Broadbent to his role as deputy governor for monetary policy at the Bank of England. It also appointed TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady to the Bank’s court of directors. She will be joined by Ron Kalifa, chairman of payments company Network International, and Hanneke Smits, chief executive of Newton Investment. They will start their four-year terms on 1 June.

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